Title 37: Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
Part 202—PREREGISTRATION AND REGISTRATION OF CLAIMS TO COPYRIGHT
Subchapter A—Copyright Office and Procedures


§202.3   Registration of copyright.

(a) General.

(1) This section prescribes conditions for the registration of copyright, and the application to be made for registration under sections 408 and 409 of title 17 of the United States Code.

(2) For the purposes of this section, the terms audiovisual work, compilation, copy, derivative work, device, fixation, literary work, motion picture, phonorecord, pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, process, sound recording, and their variant forms, have the meanings set forth in section 101 of title 17. The term author includes an employer or other person for whom a work is “made for hire” under section 101 of title 17.

(3) For the purposes of this section, a copyright claimant is either:

(i) The author of a work;

(ii) A person or organization that has obtained ownership of all rights under the copyright initially belonging to the author.1

1This category includes a person or organization that has obtained, from the author or from an entity that has obtained ownership of all rights under the copyright initially belonging to the author, the contractual right to claim legal title to the copyright in an application for copyright registration.

(b) Administrative classification and application forms

(1) Classes of works. For the purpose of registration, the Register of Copyrights has prescribed the classes of works in which copyright may be claimed. These classes, and examples of works which they include, are as follows:

(i) Class TX: Nondramatic literary works. This class includes all published and unpublished nondramatic literary works. Examples: Fiction; nonfiction; poetry; textbooks; reference works; directories; catalogs; advertising copy; and compilations of information.

(ii) Class PA: Works of the performing arts. This class includes all published and unpublished works prepared for the purpose of being performed directly before an audience or indirectly by means of a device or process. Examples: Musical works, including any accompanying words; dramatic works, including any accompanying music; pantomimes and choreographic works; and motion pictures and other audiovisual works.

(iii) Class VA: Works of the visual arts. This class includes all published and unpublished pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works. Examples: Two dimensional and three dimensional works of the fine, graphic, and applied arts; photographs; prints and art reproductions; maps, globes, and charts; technical drawings, diagrams, and models; and pictorial or graphic labels and advertisements. This class also includes published and unpublished architectural works.

(iv) Class SR: Sound recordings. This class includes all published and unpublished sound recordings fixed on and after February 15, 1972. Claims to copyright in literary, dramatic, and musical works embodied in phonorecords may also be registered in this class under paragraph (b)(4) of this section if:

(A) Registration is sought on the same application for both a recorded literary, dramatic, or musical work and a sound recording;

(B) The recorded literary, dramatic, or musical work and the sound recording are embodied in the same phonorecord; and

(C) The same claimant is seeking registration of both the recorded literary, dramatic, or musical work and the sound recording.

(v) Class SE: Serials. A serial is a work issued or intended to be issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely. This class includes periodicals (including newspapers); annuals; and the journals, proceedings, transactions, etc. of societies.

(2) Submission of application for registration. For purposes of registration, an applicant may submit an application for registration of individual works and certain groups of works electronically through the Copyright Office's website, or by using the printed forms prescribed by the Register of Copyrights.

(i) Online applications. An applicant may submit a claim through the Office's electronic registration system using the Standard Application, the Single Application, or the applications designated in §202.4.

(A) The Standard Application may be used to register a work under sections 408(a) and 409 of title 17, including a work by one author, a joint work, a work made for hire, a derivative work, a collective work, or a compilation. The Standard Application may also be used to register a unit of publication under paragraph (b)(4) of this section, or a sound recording and a literary, dramatic, or musical work under paragraphs (b)(1)(iv)(A) through (C) of this section.

(B)(1) The Single Application may be used only to register one work by one author. All of the content appearing in the work must be created by the same individual. The work must be owned by the author who created it, and the author and the claimant must be the same individual.

(2) The Single Application may be used to register one sound recording and one musical work, dramatic work, or literary work if the conditions set forth in paragraphs (b)(1)(iv)(A) through (C) and (b)(2)(i)(B)(1) of this section have been met.

(3) The following categories of works may not be registered using the Single Application: collective works, databases, websites, architectural works, choreographic works, works made for hire, works by more than one author, works with more than one owner, or works eligible for registration under §202.4 or paragraph (b)(4) or (5) of this section.

(C) An online application requires a payment of the filing fee through an electronic funds transfer, credit or debit card, or through a Copyright Office deposit account.

(D) Deposit materials in support of an online application may be submitted electronically in a digital format (if eligible) along with the application and filing fee, or an applicant may send physical copies or phonorecords as necessary to satisfy the best edition requirements, by mail to the Copyright Office, using the required shipping slip generated during the online registration process.

(ii) Paper applications. (A) An applicant may submit an application using one of the printed forms prescribed by the Register of Copyrights. Each form corresponds to one of the administrative classes set forth in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. These forms are designated “Form TX,” “Form PA,” “Form VA,” “Form SR,” and “Form SE.” These forms may be used to register a work under sections 408(a) and 409 of title 17, including a work by one author, a joint work, a work made for hire, a derivative work, a collective work, or a compilation.

(B) Copies of the printed forms are available on the Copyright Office's website (www.copyright.gov) and upon request to the Copyright Public Information Office, Library of Congress. Printed form applications may be completed and submitted by completing a printed version or using a PDF version of the applicable Copyright Office application form and mailing it together with the other required elements, i.e., physically tangible deposit copies and/or materials, and the required filing fee, all elements being placed in the same package and sent by mail or hand-delivered to the Copyright Office.

(C) A continuation sheet (Form CON) is appropriate only in the case when a printed form application is used and where additional space is needed by the applicant to provide all relevant information concerning a claim to copyright. An application may include more than one continuation sheet.

(iii) Application class. Applications should be submitted in the class most appropriate to the nature of the authorship in which copyright is claimed. In the case of contributions to collective works, applications should be submitted in the class representing the copyrightable authorship in the contribution. In the case of derivative works, applications should be submitted in the class most appropriately representing the copyrightable authorship involved in recasting, transforming, adapting, or otherwise modifying the preexisting work. In cases where a work contains elements of authorship in which copyright is claimed that fall into two or more classes, the application should be submitted in the class most appropriate to the predominant type of authorship in the work as a whole. However, in any case where registration is sought for a work consisting of or including a sound recording in which copyright is claimed, the application shall be submitted for registration in Class SR.

(3) [Reserved]

(4) Registration as one work. For the purpose of registration on one application and upon the payment of one filing fee, the following shall be considered one work: In the case of published works, all copyrightable elements that are otherwise recognizable as self-contained works, that are included in the same unit of publication, and in which the copyright claimant is the same.

(5) Group registration of related works: Automated databases.

(i) Pursuant to the authority granted by section 408(c)(1) of title 17 of the United States Code, the Register of Copyrights has determined that, on the basis of one application, deposit, and filing fee, a group registration may be made for automated databases and their updates or other derivative versions that are original works of authorship, if, where a database (or updates or other revisions thereof), if unpublished, is (or are) fixed, or if published is (or are) published only in the form of machine-readable copies, all of the following conditions are met:

(A) All of the updates or other revisions are owned by the same copyright claimant;

(B) All of the updates or other revisions have the same general title;

(C) All of the updates or other revisions are similar in their general content, including their subject;

(D) All of the updates or other revisions are similar in their organization;

(E) Each of the updates or other revisions as a whole, if published before March 1, 1989, bears a statutory copyright notice as first published and the name of the owner of copyright in each work (or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner) was the same in each notice;

(F) Each of the updates or other revisions if published was first published, or if unpublished was first created, within a three-month period in the same calendar year; and

(G) The deposit accompanying the application complies with §202.20(c)(2)(vii)(D).

(ii) A group registration may be made on one application for both a database published on one date, or if unpublished, created on one date, and also for its copyrightable revisions, including updates covering a three-month period in the same calendar year. An application for group registration of automated databases under section 408(c)(1) of title 17 and this subsection shall consist of:

(A) A form that best reflects the subject matter of the material in the database as set forth in paragraph (b)(2)(ii)(A) of this section, completed in accordance with the basic instructions on the form and the Special Instructions for Group Registration of an Automated Database and its Updates or Revisions, except that in the case of an application for group registration of an automated database consisting predominantly of photographs, after consultation and with the permission and under the direction of the Visual Arts Division, the application may be submitted electronically.

(B) The appropriate filing fee, as required in §201.3(c); and

(C) The deposit required by §202.20(c)(2)(vii)(D).

(6)-(10) [Reserved]

(11) One registration per work. As a general rule only one copyright registration can be made for the same version of a particular work. However:

(i) Where a work has been registered as unpublished, another registration may be made for the first published edition of the work, even if it does not represent a new version;

(ii) Where someone other than the author is identified as copyright claimant in a registration, another registration for the same version may be made by the author in his or her own name as copyright claimant;2

2An author includes an employer or other person for whom a work is “made for hire” under 17 U.S.C. 101. This paragraph does not permit an employee or other person working “for hire” under that section to make a later registration in his or her own name. In the case of authors of a joint work, this paragraph does permit a later registration by one author in his or her own name as copyright claimant, where an earlier registration identifies only another author as claimant.

(iii) Where an applicant for registration alleges that an earlier registration for the same version is unauthorized and legally invalid, a registration may be made by that applicant.

(c) Application for registration.

(1) As a general rule, an application for copyright registration may be submitted by any author or other copyright claimant of a work, the owner of any exclusive right in a work, or the duly authorized agent of any such author, other claimant, or owner. A Single Application, however, may be submitted only by the author/claimant or by a duly authorized agent of the author/claimant, provided that the agent is identified in the application as the correspondent.

(2) All applications shall include the information required by the particular form, and shall be accompanied by the appropriate filing fee, as required in §201.3(c) of this chapter, and the deposit required under 17 U.S.C. 408 and §202.20, §202.21, or §202.4, as appropriate.

(3) All applications submitted for registration shall include a certification.

(i) As a general rule, the application may be certified by an author, claimant, an owner of exclusive rights, or a duly authorized agent of the author, claimant, or owner of exclusive rights. A Single Application, however, may be certified only by the author/claimant or by a duly authorized agent of the author/claimant.

(ii) For online applications, the certification shall include the typed name of a party identified in paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section. For paper applications, the certification shall include the typed, printed, or handwritten signature of a party identified in paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section, and if the signature is handwritten it shall be accompanied by the typed or printed name of that party.

(iii) The declaration shall state that the information provided within the application is correct to the best of the certifying party's knowledge.

(iv) For online applications, the date of the certification shall be automatically assigned by the electronic registration system on the date the application is received by the Copyright Office. For paper applications, the certification shall include the month, day, and year that the certification was signed by the certifying party.

(v) An application for registration of a published work will not be accepted if the date of certification is earlier than the date of publication given in the application.

(4) In the case of applications for registration made under paragraphs (b)(4) through (5) of this section or under §202.4, the “year of creation,” “year of completion,” or “year in which creation of this work was completed” means the latest year in which the creation of any copyrightable element was completed.


(Pub. L. 94-553; secs. 408, 409, 410, 702)

[43 FR 966, Jan. 5, 1978]

Editorial Note: For Federal Register citations affecting §202.3, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.govinfo.gov.


Source: GPO Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) (ecfr.gov)
Data current as of June 18, 2019